It was in September that Star India’s Uday Shankar was once again handed over the reins of Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF), and since then, he has been working on a three-point agenda.
Says the man who has been very vocal about his views on digitisation in India, “When you are heading an organisation like IBF, there are three things that we all need to look at. First and foremost is digitisation. It is the most fundamental thing that the industry requires and so we need to ensure that we engage with government and put the digitisation road map back on track.”
The second is the carriage fees for both big and small channels, particularly for niche channels which are dying under the weight of this. He points out that the investment done by niche channels on content is totally destroyed because they don’t have the money. “Most of them are going bankrupt and carriage fee is the single biggest destructive influence on the industry. The key objective of digitisation was that it would expand carriage capacity and the carriage fees will get substantially reduced or would go away. That has not happened. We need to work on that,” he says.
Thirdly, the foundation needs to make sure that the new government looks at broadcast as an important sector. “The government is genuinely reviewing it also,” he adds.
The view at the IBF , currently, is that broadcast will play a huge role in the Narendra Modi government’s agenda of creating more jobs, creating more opportunities, entrepreneurship and wealth for people. “We as IBF want to take the plan to the government and tell them the way we can carry forward the government’s agenda,” says Shankar.
With a view to benefit the industry and the customer, the foundation aims to work closely with all its synergies as well as other bodies like BARC India.